The work / life balance is slowly being restored!

It has been such a busy term so far, I have been breaking my rule of not working weekends ever since I came back from Spain and January has flown by with very little me time. Happily we have a bit of a lull now at least for a couple of weeks then things get really busy again.

I am doing well with the next batch of dolls for the little girls in the family, I cut out three sets of pieces last Sunday afternoon and have already got a pile of completed legs. I am working on stitching the faces at the moment which will take some time.

Doll legs

I was working from home last week for a couple of days and having done a lot of marking over the weekend was able to finish early on Tues afternoon and get in the craft room for a little play and then finished it all up yesterday.

I was planning to make a cushion for my sister for Christmas but then we decided not to do presents for each other. I was very thankful about this due to my poorly arm but I still wanted to make her this one as I have seen so many cute versions on Pinterest.

She has a camper van, which is not a VW,  but we both love them so I made her this cushion for use in her van when she goes to festivals.

VW Cushion 1

I looked for a pattern but most seemed to be ready made or kits so ended up drawing my own. I drafted it out then traced over and cut out the pattern pieces. I put iron on bonding on the fabric before cutting out then assembled it before zig zagging round the applique.

VW Cushion 6

I am so pleased with it, it looks so cute. I bought some fab backing fabric as well. Yes I know I said I was not buying anything else but did not have anything suitable in stash that was large enough and it was only £2 for a fat quarter from Oh Sew Crafty on Ebay. They have lots of other colours as well, pictures from the shop’s site.

VW van fabric

 

VW van fabric 2

All the rest was from stash, Ellie very kindly gifted me a jelly roll so I used some of that for the windows and tyres and the white spot fabric backing is a piece she bought for the same quilt about 6 years ago and has never made so she thought I might make good use of it. I still have lots more lovely strips including beautiful flowery ones so will share those with Mum.

The yellow is some Dashwood from Simply Solids and the green flower and square design on the panels is some fab vintage fabric that someone must have given me as I don’t remember buying it. Buttons courtesy of my Mum for Christmas. The back is a simple envelope closure and I added poppers as well.

VW Cushion 7

I love it and I hope my sister will like it, then again if she doesn’t it will be a lovely new cushion for me! I have also found some very lovely caravan ideas, I think this would make a nice pouch.This is a free tutorial and pattern from Bev at Flamingo Toes. I would dearly love to own a vintage caravan, they are so lovely but not practical for me really.

Camper Embroidery

Hope that you have all had a nice week ahead . My Mum arrives on Thursday and we are off to Budapest on Saturday for a few days so I am really looking forward to that. I may just be taking a few pictures of lovely buildings! See you when I get back and thanks for visiting.

 

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Falling down a Pinterest rabbit hole again!

I was just checking something on my Pinterest this morning and some very gorgeous embroidery appeared on my feed. I don’t know why it came up as I have not searched for anything like this but of course I had to go and investigate.

It is French redwork cross stitch but what I really loved was all the needlework themed designs, especially when they were combined with the buttons and charms.Really beautiful ideas here.

French redwork 2

French redwork 3

French redwork 4

French redwork 5

French redwork 6

French redwork 7

French redwork 8

I also came across some printers’ letter trays that people were using to display their embroidery, isn’t this a lovely idea?

French redwork 1

French redwork letterpress-sampler

I do have some very similar patterns in my stash and love the idea of red thread on linen and combining it with charms and buttons, I can see a needlebook design to add to my things to make list.

These are all on my Pinterest cross stitch feed if you would like to go and have a look at them. I did find a few photos of patterns and a couple of links to free designs.

I shall be posting about my latest make tomorrow once I have had the chance to take some pictures of it, I am very pleased as I have written a long, ‘makes for 2018’, list and have already finished one!

Hope that you have had a nice weekend, thanks for visiting.

Lots more inspiration

I have not done a single stitch in anything since Monday. I have been so tired by the time I have got in from work and had tea that I have just looked at a few blogs and gone to bed with a good book, on Weds that was at half past 8 as I couldn’t stay up any longer! I have done lots of nice reading though.

So there will be nothing to show you this weekend. I am going to make another doll sometime soon as my cousin saw the pictures I posted on Facebook and said her daughter would like one so I will be working on that for her birthday.

I have been getting lots more lovely ideas though and the very talented Lori Holt of Bee in my Bonnet never fails to disappoint. Her new pattern and sew along has just started and it is even more cute than the last one! All pictures are from Lori’s site.

Bake Sale 2 Quilt small-01

This one is called Let’s Bake and it is just gorgeous! I love baking, last Sunday I made some really yummy cranberry, apricot and white chocolate cookies and I am going to make some more this weekend as they lasted about 3 days, well we had to eat them before they went hard 😉  So I really love all the block designs here.

You can download the pattern guide from here and it is really detailed. It does use a set of shapes which are a bit difficult to get in the UK but I think you could work it out from the diagrams if you don’t have them. There is some great embroidery on the blocks as well.

This is one of my favourites so far, it would make a great design for a mixer cover wouldn’t it?

Mixer block

I love these little gingham cross stitch squares that edge the quilt.

Let's Bake cross stitch

The new fabric collection is called Bake sale 2 and is really nice, I especially like the cake stand design and the text fabric but am being good and not buying random fabric just because I like it.

Bake Sale fabric

She also has lots of other side projects, such as this pie tin pincushion and these lovely pot holders with crochet on, both would make great gifts if you are building up a gift stash.

Lori Holt Pincushion

Bake Sale pot holders

Jenny of Elefantz has been having a discussion about aprons on her Gentle Domesticity Facebook page and has recently been making some new ones and I think some of these designs would look beautiful on an apron so I really should make myself a nice one. Most of mine are very plain and boring and very stained now so I would love a new pretty one.

Ellie and Kerry are due for a quick visit tomorrow which will make a nice break from marking. I am hoping to get a couple of free hours later on Sunday to at least choose the fabrics for the new doll and maybe get a bit of cutting out done.

Hope that you all have a nice relaxing weekend and thanks for visiting.

Introducing Katy Cupcake

I wanted to make something for Ava’s first birthday next week but did not know what to do and didn’t have much time, only a few hours this weekend, so I did a little search earlier in the week and came across some very cute dolls.

After spending far too much time on Pinterest looking at all of the cute versions of this doll pattern that had been made, all in the name of research of course 🙂 I started the doll Saturday afternoon and had her finished on Sunday evening.

Doll finished 1

The sources for all these pictures can be found on my Pinterest sewing board.

I am very pleased with her, I have never made anything like this before, have often looked at stuffed toy patterns and thought that they were gorgeous but this is the first that I have attempted and apart from a couple of minor setbacks everything was very easy to do.

I am particularly pleased with the embroidered face, I spent quite a lot of time looking at different options then decided to embroider a whole eye but stopped halfway up, I think it looks quite lifelike.

I used a combination of two free patterns, the Black Apple Doll pattern for the body, arms and legs and the Josephine doll pattern for the head as I wanted a more rounded shape and cut my own hair pattern after looking at all of the photos on Pinterest. I also made some felt plaits which I sewed together before attaching to the head as the original doll has short hair.

I sewed the legs and arms onto the body before tacking it together but still had a few issues with that stage. I had to do the bottom seam 3 times to get the legs secured and then in the process of pulling the doll the right way out lost one of the arms. This is what it looked like yesterday afternoon.

Doll in progress 1

The instructions say, ‘flip the body’,  but it was more like a, ‘Call the Midwife’, difficult birth scene 😉 Luckily the neonatal surgeons were on hand to re-attach the arm so all was good.

I made a little elasticated skirt and a flower bow to disguise where the sewing up of the head got a little bumpy. The body is the original dress for the doll but after seeing all the cute little skirts on the Pinterest dolls I had to make one. And there you have it, one very cute little doll and all made from stash, no new purchases at all.

Am very tempted to make some more of these, I love the split arms to give sleeves in some of the inspiration photos above and the cute little shoes, we shall see how much time I have to play later in the summer!

For future dolls I would like to try and get the arms laying flatter against the body and maybe play with the proportions of the arms as well. I am very pleased with this first one though.She has been sitting next to me all day helping me write my book chapter!

Take care and thanks for visiting.

Teeny tiny stitching

I have decided to carry on with the Christmas cross stitching, my aim is to do one a month and then by next December I will have all twelve I need and it won’t matter if I hurt my arm or am really busy!

They are mostly very relaxing stitches but the one I am working on at the moment is quite a challenge as it is so very tiny.

Plum Pudding Cross Stitch 1

I am stitching this on evenweave linen so I don’t know exactly what count it is but here is my little finger for size comparison.

Plum Pudding Cross Stitch 3

I have stitched this one before and it is lovely if a little fiddly to do, especially the white topping to the pudding which is difficult to see in the evenings, am just onto that bit with a second one now.

Plum Pudding Cross Stitch 2

Plum Pudding Cross Stitch 4

It is a JBW Design called Plum Pudding and I don’t know if I will carry on and make 6 in total for the friends who I give to as I group or stick to two or three, we shall see.

I have also been doing some not so tiny stitching with another of their designs which I have not done before, a snowglobe one.

Snow Globe Cross Stitch 2

That is a much more manageable size, here is another shot with the little finger for comparison and it is stitched on sparkly aida for extra festiveness.

Snow Globe Cross Stitch 3

Snow Globe Cross Stitch 1

It still features the same lovely little motifs as well as part of the design which make them really special. I usually buy these designs from Sew and Sew , who have a sale on at the moment but Wye Needlecraft also have a good selection including this one.

In other exciting news Mum and I have booked a mini break to Seville for when I am in Spain at Easter. I has been on my wish list for a long time and can’t wait to go, it looks amazing! Pictures from Google.

Alcazar-of-Seville

Seville-ES

I have been writing a chapter of a book for work this weekend so have not had much time to sew but here is a sneak peek of what I have been working on, a new venture for me, a little doll for a special little girl who will be one next week.

Doll in progress 1

More on this when she is already to meet the world.I hope that you have had a nice week and a relaxing weekend, take care and thanks for visiting.

 

 

 

 

 

Gift ideas

I am thinking ahead for this year with things that I can make for various birthdays as I think it is a great idea to have a supply of gifts at hand.

Jenny of Elefantz recently posted some really good ideas for things to make for a gift stash. I love her ideas for bookmarks and these lovely soup bowl cosies with the free pattern from this link, the pictures of bookmarks are from Jenny’s web site. She has some gorgeous motifs in her patterns for use on book marks and who doesn’t love a good read?

ELEFANTZ simple pleasures bookmarks 1

soup bowl cozy

I know that pouches are always useful for people so will be making some more of those and will also make some more stitching related goodies. Jenny’s designs come in handy for bags as well.

My recent giveaway winner,Daisy Debs, said she liked Liberty and vintage embroidery so I made her a needlecase with both on. I have done this design before on pouches and bags but not on needlecases so will make more of those.

Giveaway Liberty needlebook 1

Giveaway Liberty needlebook 2

Giveaway Liberty needlebook 3

Aprons for kids are a lovely gift, I made four a few years ago using the tutorial from this site. The picture is from the tutorial.

Child's Apron Tutorial

One thing I have been collecting ideas for but not done yet is quiet books, there are so many lovely ideas out there, this is my Pinterest page for them. Ava is one next month so a little young for one yet but I am thinking a bit later one of these might be good. Not sure where this originally comes from but have seen it on lots of Pinterest pages. Isn’t it gorgeous?

Quiet book

I only managed to sneak in a couple of hours crafting this weekend due to having to work the rest but finished off the stitching things pouch so that will go in the stash for Yarndale. I have a nice stash of zips now so am hoping to do lots of pouches over the coming months.

Have been doing cross stitching in between other things, still working on Christmas ornaments! Thought I had better get ahead just in case of injury next Autumn have already completed a couple for this year’s collection which I will share with you in the next post.

Happy crafting, hope the work week goes well and see you at the weekend! Thanks for visiting.

Spanish rural life

A little further inland from La Marina there are lots of small towns and villages that have been mainly  untouched by the development that is common along the coast. There are still inland urbanizacions but there are also lots of farms and little fincas or smallholdings. The area is very rural and on my cycle rides I can often comes across people moving their sheep or a man with a donkey and cart.

One of the great things about this is that the markets in the area are packed full of fruit and veg sold very cheaply and all very fresh, I love going to market and plan to do most of my shopping there when I move full-time.

Mum has recently discovered a beautiful little museum in the countryside, it is next to a local school near a small village called Matola and is absolutely gorgeous. The school help look after the museum which is an absolutely brilliant idea. It is called Museo Escolar de Pusol  and was set up in 1969.

They have lots of displays of rural life and craft including pressing olives to make oil, making wine, weaving baskets and espadrille shoes and also displays of rooms as they would have been in the 1940s and 50s with my favourite museum things, lovely vintage artifacts and textiles!

Museo Escolar 1

Museo Escolar 2

Look at the vintage shelf edgings with lace in this glass cabinet.

Museo Escolar 3

The room also had a lace making pillow and a knitting bag.

Museo Escolar 4

Museo Escolar 5

I was interested to see a log cabin quilt on the bed, from what I can tell there is not a current quilting scene in Spain as there is in England and the USA, there are a couple of shops in the area that sell fabric but we have only found one quilting shop in a 100 km radius so it seems it did not become popular again as it did here.

The washstand and mirror is beautiful as well and there is a little fretwork shelf next to it with a towel and other toiletries.

There were lots of displays of tools and equipment including a cart workshop and this wooden cart and embroidered rug.

Museo Escolar 10

Museo Escolar 11

I also loved the recreation of a street in the local village with lots of shops as they would have looked in the 1950s and 60s, some of the toys and artifacts I remembered from my childhood.

Museo Escolar 12

I really liked the beautiful tins on display in the grocers.It was interesting to see the different sorts of advertising motifs on tins of biscuits and tortillas, bullfighters and lots of religious images as well as packaging I was familiar with.

Museo Escolar 13

There was haberdashery as well, buttons galore and some vintage punto de cruz, cross stitch, booklets.

Museo Escolar 14

Museo Escolar 15

Museo Escolar 16

The area is famous for its palm trees and one of the displays was of decorated hats.

Museo Escolar 17

Elche, the nearest large town, is famous for its palm weaving – there is lots more information and pictures of this amazing craft here at this blog post. Below is an image from Google of some of the palm weavings in the Palm Sunday parade.

Elche Palm weaving

I love the fact that all of this heritage has been preserved for the village and the children. I don’t think they get many visitors but do go if you are ever in the area, 3 euros very well spent and such a beautiful collection.

I have had a very busy week at work so far and am too tired to stitch anything tonight so I think that I will catch up on a few blogs and have an early night. We have had snow disruption again which meant getting home late last night and getting up very early this morning as the buses were not running at all yesterday evening so I needed to ensure I could get to work this morning. More snow is forecast for this evening and early mornings so fingers crossed I can get in ok tomorrow!

Will catch up with you all at the weekend, take care and have a nice rest of the week, thanks for visiting.